The 90`s Era (unfinished)

Yo Homeboy, dat blingbling is phat…NOT!
Here it is! You’ve made it to the ’90s. You’ve come very far.
Let’s look back through what we’ve studied so far and try to
sum up the music of each decade in only a few words. Here
we go:
1900’s: Ragtime, Scott Joplin, Player piano
1910’s: Ragtime, early Blues
20’s: Blues, small Jazz bands, Louis Armstrong
30’s: Blues, Robert Johnson, Swing, Big Band, Benny
Goodman, Duke Ellington
40’s: Big Band, Frank Sinatra
50’s: Rhythm and Blues, Early Rock-n-Roll, Elvis, Doo-wop
60’s: Beatlemania, British Invasion, Hippie bands
70’s: Hard rock, Soul music, Punk, Disco
80’s: Glam metal, New Wave, Michael Jackson, early HipHop
Okay, now let’s get to the music of
the 90’s. Since music is a direct
reflection of society, we will also
take a look at what was going on in
the world at the time.
The World Wide Web was introduced in the 90’s.
Suddenly, information was right at one’s fingertips.
Many bands started creating websites to boost their
People began to email each other. It was so much
faster than mailing letters, and it was FREE! No
An Internet Service Provider was necessary to access
the World Wide Web. AOL was the largest. Before
getting on the internet, you had to “dial up” the
internet. The internet came through your phone line,
so you wouldn’t be able to receive phone calls while
you were online and you might have to pay long
distance phone charges.
AOL Video from 1995
Up to this time, MTV
showed mostly pop and
rock videos, but now
MTV began to show a
much wider selection of
music thanks to smaller
video segments. The
Subterranean segment
showed alternative rock
and underground
videos. Headbanger’s
Ball showed heavy
metal videos. Yo! MTV
Raps showed hip-hop
and rap videos.
MTV was always known
as the channel that
showed music videos 24
hours a day, but during
this time, MTV
began airing
TV shows
that appealed to young
audiences. Reality shows
like The Real World and
animated shows like
Beavis and Butthead.
Rock music evolved in a totally
different direction once again in
the ‘90s
The Grunge Movement was one of the
biggest movements of the 90’s. It
basically killed Glam metal
overnight. Where Glam was all
about big hair, a fancy image,
and a spectacular video, Grunge
was characterized by having a
messy, “I just woke up” look,
and no dramatic videos. Many
Grunge bands bought their
clothes at Goodwill or thrift
Grunge music came out of
Seattle, Washington and
was a subcategory of the
alternative rock that was
started in the ’80s. It had
very distorted guitars,
frantic drumming, intense
but unclear vocals, and
sarcastic, uncaring, or
angry lyrics. Grunge was
originally an underground
type of music and many
grunge bands were
uncomfortable with the
popularity of the
Alice in Chains
One of the biggest grunge bands was
Nirvana. Their album Nevermind
became an instant sensation selling
300,000 copies a week. The record
company couldn’t meet the demand for
it. The band wasn’t happy about their
success. They wanted to stay small.
Video – Smells
Like Teen Spirit
Kurt Cobain was the lead singer
and guitarist of Nirvana. When
he was 8, his parents divorced.
From this point on, Kurt
became angry towards adults
and was a rebellious teenager.
Two weeks before graduation,
he dropped out of high school,
and struggled to make ends
meet for the next few years.
Cobain’s influences were The Beatles, classic rock, such as Led Zeppelin and
Kiss, and punk bands of the 80’s. His songwriting reflects the depression
that tormented him his whole life. He was very frustrated by Nirvana’s
success and thought that his artistic vision was not understood by the
public. In 1994, still struggling with depression, heroin addiction, and his
recent divorce to singer Courtney Love, he committed suicide.
Pearl Jam
Another Grunge giant was Pearl Jam. Nirvana and Pearl Jam
can be credited for starting the entire Grunge movement,
with many other bands that followed. Like Nirvana, Pearl
Jam also had an aggressive, but mentally unstable lead
singer in Eddie Vedder. Also, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam did
not like the pressures of success, so they refused to make
videos of their popular songs, and even refused to use
Ticketmaster for ticket sales for their concerts, which
limited their ability to tour for 3 years.
Eventually, the band became
visually spectacular to watch live
when touring, often employing light
shows along with the music.
Nine Inch Nails burst into the Grunge
scene, adding an industrial sound into
the mix. The band got its start in the
music industry when their future band
leader, Trent Reznor was an assistant
engineer and janitor in a recording
studio and asked if he could record
some of his own music for free during
off-hours. His boss agreed.
One of the first Grunge bands to sign a record deal
with a major label was Soundgarden. This would
make sense, since they were pioneers of the genre.
One of their biggest hits was 1994’s “Black Hole Sun,” which you are listening to
Yet another Grunge band with an
interesting twist was Stone Temple Pilots.
These guys actually were very influenced
by Classic Hard Rock
Stone Temple Pilots can trace its
beginnings to a Black Flag concert in Long
Beach, California in 1986, where Scott
Weiland met Robert DeLeo. They began
discussing their girlfriends, and, after
realizing they were dating the same
woman, developed a bond. They each
subsequently broke it off with the girl, who
left town, whereupon Weiland and DeLeo
moved into her vacated apartment. They
eventually met up with some of Weiland’s
old high school friends and started the
Some other Alternative rock
groups criticized the Grunge
movement for being too hypermasculine and/or for being too
mainstream. They decided to go
their own route and experiment
with new compositional styles
and sounds in that were different
from Grunge.
Some of these
With their debut album, Devil’s Night Out released in 1989, this band rose
to fame in the ‘90s. Heavily influenced by Ska, saxophones and a
trombone were included as well in the otherwise typical rock band
lineup. Their lead vocalist, Dicky Barrett, is currently the announcer for
Jimmy Kimmel Live.
This was another rock band started in the ‘80s that enjoyed even greater
success in the ‘90s. They were one of the first popular alternative bands, with a
signature sound created by guitarist Peter Buck’s arpeggiated style of playing
and lead singer Michael Stipe’s unclear vocals. Their albums in the ‘90s
included Out of Time, Automatic for the People, Monster, New Adventures in Hi-Fi,
and Up.
This English band
featured expansive
sound and themes of
modern alienation.
Their album OK
Computer is often
acclaimed as a
landmark recording
of the ‘90s.
This band was started by Ed
Roland, who studied music
composition and guitar
playing at Berklee College of
Music in Massachusetts.
Roland and his friends went
on to record 7 number one
mainstream rock hits, the first
of which was “Shine.”
The Smashing Pumpkins
The Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered and guitarheavy sound, containing elements of gothic rock, grunge,
heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, progressive rock,
shoegazer style production and, in later recordings,
The band is best known for their successful singles "Buddy Holly", "Undone The Sweater Song", "Say It Ain't So", "Perfect Situation", "Island in the Sun",
"Beverly Hills" and "Pork and Beans".
Best remembered for their 1993 single "No Rain", the group enjoyed critical and
commercial success in the early 1990s with their neo-psychedelic take on
alternative rock. The 1995 death of lead vocalist Shannon Hoon halted the band's
activity, and the members went on hiatus until officially disbanding in 1999. The
band reformed with new lead vocalist Travis Warren in 2006, and although
Warren departed two years later, he has since resumed performing with the band.
Punk was still alive and kickin’ in
the ‘90s—over a decade after it’s
creation. As a refresher for those
of you who may have forgotten,
Punk emphasized simplicity in
terms of composition: basic easy
chords and lyrics and was created
as a backlash to Glam and other
types of rock that were
considered too elaborate and
One of the biggest names in ‘90s Punk was Green Day. Part of the reason for
their great success was the fact that they got started in Berkeley, CA—not far from
Hollywood. When they put out their first recordings for an independent label, they
earned a large grassroots fanbase.
The Offspring
Often credited alongside Green Day for bringing Punk into the American popular
mainstream, the Offspring created hit songs such as “Come Out and Play” and
“Gone Away.” Like Green Day, they were also from California.
Here’s a third Punk band from California:
Rage Against the
In 1992, the band released its self-titled debut album, which became a
commercial success, leading to a slot in the 1993 Lollapalooza.
Other Happenings in the ‘90s
With the advent of the internet in mainstream America, many online businesses
followed and were very successful. This was known as the “Dot Com Boom.”
The Dot Com boom along with the fact that then President Bill Clinton had
balanced the federal budget only helped to maintain a strong economy for America.
Americans were able to buy more at this point, and with gasoline prices running
at about an average of $1.09 a gallon, Americans were certainly more able to
Larger cars!
There we go!
As you can see, many Americans in the ‘90s were all about the excess, and many
musical genres mirrored this—though none did it better than the pop divas of the
Female pop singers at this time placed a heavy emphasis on computer-generated
dance tracks, intense choreography (often with background dancers), and
elaborate stage sets. Their record companies usually hired pop composers to
ensure that the songs were catchy and would gain lots of airtime on the radio. Of
course, being good-looking certainly didn’t hurt your marketability either.
Britney Jean Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood,
Louisiana, Spears began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage
productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released
her debut album ...Baby One More Time in 1999. During her first decade in the music
industry, she became a prominent figure in mainstream popular music and popular
culture, followed by a much-publicized personal life. Her first two albums
established her as a pop icon and broke sales records, while title tracks "...Baby One
More Time" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" became international number-one hits.
Spears was credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s.
Christina María Aguilera first appeared on national television in
1990 as a contestant on the Star Search program, and went on to
star in Disney Channel's television series The Mickey Mouse Club
from 1993–1994 (co-starring with Britney Spears and Justin
Timberlake). Aguilera signed to RCA Records after recording
"Reflection", the theme song for the animated film Mulan (1998).
But the ladies weren’t the only ones making a splash in the pop world. Guys were
doing it too—albeit in a more-group oriented fashion. BOY BANDS hit the stage in
a bigger way than ever before, with two of the biggest vocal groups leading the pack:
Interestingly enough, the format for the songs and performances were roughly
the same as that for the pop divas at the time.
With the success of the boy bands, British record producers Bob and Chris
Herbert wondered if they could make a profit with a similar all girl group. Soon
after, the Spice Girls were born.
The girls were individually selected through auditions that tested their dancing
and singing skills.
The pop world wasn’t for every artist though. Some preferred a more intimate,
hands-on, compose-it-yourself approach. These artists were often referred to as
Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at
the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was
noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to
use a piano as her primary instrument. Some of her charting singles include
"Crucify", "Silent All These Years", "God", "Cornflake Girl", "Caught a Lite
Sneeze", "Professional Widow", "Spark", "1000 Oceans", and "A Sorta Fairytale",
her most commercially successful single in the U.S. to date.
Mandy Moore is an American singer-songwriter, actress and fashion designer.
Moore became famous as a teenager in the late 1990s, after the release of her teen
pop albums So Real, I Wanna Be with You, and Mandy Moore. In 2007, she took an
adult pop-folk direction with the release of Wild Hope. Her most recent album,
Amanda Leigh, was released on May 26, 2009.Moore has sold more than 10 million
records worldwide. Moore subsequently branched out into film, starring in 2002's
A Walk to Remember and later in other movies, such as Chasing Liberty, Saved! and
License to Wed. Most recently Moore provided the voice of Rapunzel in Tangled. In
April 2011, she ranked 5th in People's annual Most Beautiful issue.
Sarah Ann McLachlan is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter.
Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, as of
2009, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's bestselling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards
(out of four nominations).
Fiona Apple is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Apple met
international acclaim for her 1996 debut album, Tidal, which was a critical and
commercial success. At the age of nineteen she received a Grammy Award for
Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the single "Criminal" from that album
in 1998.
Alanis Morissette is a Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer,
and actress. She has won 16 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, was
nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and also shortlisted for an Academy
Award nomination. Morissette began her career in Canada, and as a teenager
recorded two dance-pop albums, Alanis and Now Is the Time, under MCA Records
Now, how could you talk about the ‘90s without mentioning Rap? This decade
could easily be called Rap’s golden age simply because of the sheer number and
diversity of rappers recording at the time.
Serious Rap
Andre Romelle Young, better known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American
rapper, record producer, record executive, entrepreneur, and occasional actor He has
produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop
Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. As a producer he is credited as a key figure in the
popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizerbased with slow, heavy beats.
Dre began his career in music as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru and he
later found fame with the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A ,which popularized the
use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life.
Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for
being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip
gang member while in high school. Shortly after graduation, he was
arrested for cocaine possession and spent six months in Wayside County
Jail. His music career began in 1992 after his release when he was
discovered by Dr. Dre. He collaborated on several tracks on Dre's solo
debut, The Chronic
Eminem, as was previously mentioned, was another one of Dre’s proteges.
Eminem’s trademark could always be found in his lyrics; quite possibly some of the
most twisted out there—frequently making reference to drug use, sexual acts,
mental instability, over-the-top violence, and marital problems.
Fun Rap: a little less serious
There was also more kid and family-friendly rap out there that wasn’t as dark.
One-hit-wonder Vanilla Ice exemplified this with “Ice Ice Baby”
Will Smith
Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, with
his childhood friend Jeffrey "DJ Jazzy Jeff" Townes as turntablist and producer, as
well as Ready Rock C as the human beat box. The trio was known for performing
humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably "Parents Just Don't Understand" and
"Summertime". They gained critical acclaim and won the first Grammy awarded in
the Rap category (1988).
The End

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